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F1 24 impressions: Diving into Career Mode

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A new Formula 1 video game is out, as EA SPORTS released F1 24, from developer Codemasters, on Friday. What’s new for sim racing and F1 fans this year?

Perhaps the biggest change in F1 24 is the introduction of “EA SPORTS Dynamic Handling,” a huge overhaul that could prove to be polarizing for veterans of the series. EA says that developers worked with F1 champ Max Verstappen to make car handling and performance feel more realistic in-game, and the result is something that does feel entirely different from earlier entries in the series, for better or worse.

At high speeds, zipping a car around some of the greatest circuits in the world in F1 24 feels great even on a controller – though in some cases too forgiving – but it’s at low speeds where you really notice the difference. There’s a much greater sensitivity and responsiveness to slow corners, making it all too easy to over-rotate your car and cut corners or hop curbs you never meant to. At tight tracks like Monaco, you’re going to need to log laps to come to grips with the new handling model, which at the moment leaves the car feeling a bit too light and maneuverable.

Career mode has been updated and given additional depth for F1 24, and players have plenty of options for a single-player journey through F1. You can play as an already existing driver and control their career as you see fit, you can create your own avatar and join a team – either directly in Formula 1 or starting in Formula 2 – or you can create a brand new 11th team on the grid.

I selected this option, as while F1 might be able to keep Andretti Global off the grid in real life, there was nothing stopping me from taking over as a driver/owner and signing a teammate. I was able to sign a driver from roster of current young stars, or F1 legends like Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button.

Within career mode, advancing your “recognition” will be a goal every week, as when you complete challenges and deliver solid results on the track, your recognition will rise and make you a more valuable asset to other teams. You could find yourself invited to a secret meeting with a rival team looking to negotiate a future contract. Recognition also plays a role in the R&D side when developing your current team, as having more recognition will make it easier to improve your car over time.

There’s a new challenge career mode, which allows you to compete against other drivers on a leaderboard without having to brave online lobbies for live multiplayer. You’ll be given a series of different “episodes” to complete, where you’ll tackle race scenarios against the AI, with your difficulty setting affecting a score multiplier.

Single-player modes are where F1 24 impressively delivers on the same level as other standout sports games like MLB The Show, and it’s thanks to the competitive AI that you’ll be battling on track. At a lower difficulty, it isn’t too hard for a new player to blow away the field, but at higher difficulties, AI drivers can pose a significant challenge, and they behave in realistic ways – aggressively going for overtakes in braking zones and battling you wheel-to-wheel in tight spots on track.

The level of customization available within the My Team career falls a bit short when compared to other racing games like Gran Turismo, Forza or iRacing. Upon starting a new team, you’ll be given a few options for a team logo and a surprisingly small number of choices for a main paint scheme. You’ll be able to unlock more cosmetic options as you play by earning and spending in-game currency – but the livery editor doesn’t give you the tools to make something on the same level as the other teams you’ll be competing against.

On the multiplayer side, you can compete in open unranked lobbies, or take on ranked multiplayer where you’ll face opponents close to your own skill level and have the chance to progress to higher ranks with good results. There’s also an integrated F1 league option, where you can use an EA app to browse and join player-run leagues.

F1 24 releases on May 31st on PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series S/X and Xbox One.


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